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Dr. Shepherd awarded R01 through the National Institute of Mental Health

Dr. Jason Shepherd received an R01 through the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the mechanism of Arc dependent synaptic plasticity.

August 1, 2017 / / - / Award, Neuroscience

Kyle Jenks Awarded NIMH F31, NRSA

Congratulations to Kyle Jenks for receiving a NRSA award from the National Institute of Mental Health!

December 6, 2016 / / - / Award, Neuroscience, Training

Our work discussed on the University of Utah’s Scope Radio

I discuss the focus of our work and how it relates to neurological diseases.

Scope Radio Interview

September 15, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News, Neuroscience

Neuron paper out online!

Our Neuron paper (paper link) describing a new GCaMP reporter mouse (a transgenic mouse that expresses a protein that can sense levels of calcium in cells) is out today! This was a great collaborative project between multiple Utah neuroscience labs. Exemplary of the close knit community here!

How to assess Science, Scientists and Science funding?

Nature published an interesting supplement (Supplement) that looks at how Science and scientists in New Zealand/Australia are evaluated and funded. I find this an interesting topic. Should there be “performance” outcomes like in industry? Should individual scientists be funded on their track record or based on individual projects? The NIH in the US is debating the same issues (NIH Funding). HHMI,  for example, has been hugely successful and funds individuals not projects.

August 1, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News

NY Times article “The kids who beat autism”

This article highlights the difficulty in studying autism but gives some hope to parents. It also shows how much more research needs to be done! Some kids seem to reverse their autism symptoms, behavioural therapy seems to help but is not necessary in some cases. Why some kids can make amazing progress and others not is unclear but is probably due to the distinct genetic underpinnings that cause such a wide spectrums of phenotypes.

NYTs Article

July 31, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News

Kyle Jenks awarded T32 NIH training grant

Congrats to Kyle who was awarded one of three T32 NIH training grant slots from the Utah neuroscience program!

June 4, 2014 / / - / Award, Education, In The News

Shepherd lab commentary on the SFARI website – molecular links between Schizophrenia and Autism

https://sfari.org/news-and-opinion/viewpoint/2014/signaling-pathways-link-autism-schizophrenia

May 28, 2014 / / - / Neuroscience

NIH is encouraging scientists to use male AND females in their studies

Traditionally scientists mostly use one sex for their studies. Especially in neuroscience where behavioural differences may prove confounding. While I think this is a good idea, we could certainly be more efficient when using our animal colonies if we did discard females, it will certainly mean that monitoring whether there are sex differences in a study will make it a longer one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/15/health/nih-tells-researchers-to-end-sex-bias-in-early-studies.html?hp

May 14, 2014 / / - / Neuroscience

The University of Utah has some fantastic young scientists!

The Utah School of Medicine recently hosted a symposium highlighting new faculty who have won national competitive awards. The mini talks revolved around the human element of science as well as a primer on their exciting research.

Here’s a youtube video with highlights of these talks: Vitae Presentations

April 18, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News

The dilemma of too many students and postdocs in Science

The number of students and postdocs in Science has increased every decade but the number of tenure-track positions have not. This current bottle neck is well represented by this graphic: http://www.ascb.org/ascbpost/index.php/compass-points/item/285-where-will-a-biology-phd-take-you

An open discussion on this issue is sorely needed.

April 14, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News, Training

Visualizing proteins in a Cell

The closest you’ll get to taking a tour through the insides of a Neuron…very cool!

http://nyti.ms/1k8dBj1

Shepherd lab welcomes new members to the team!

This month three new young scientists joined the Shepherd lab:

Cameron Day will be joining as a postdoctoral associate, he recently graduated with his PhD from the Neuroscience program at UTSW.

Andrew Taibi, will be joining as a new Ph.D. student.

Kyle Jenks, will be joining as a new Ph.D. student.

March 19, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News, Training

Seth Rogen advocates for Alzheimer’s disease to congress (and it’s funny!)

Might be the first time C-SPAN was worth a real laugh! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHqx3-mfHAY

February 27, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News

PLOS journals make it compulsory to share ALL data with publication

This could be a game changer for the scientific community, so it will be interesting to see how it’s implemented and received!

http://blogs.plos.org/everyone/2014/02/24/plos-new-data-policy-public-access-data/

February 25, 2014 / / - / In The News

Revolutionizing Psychiatry – NYTs article on NIMH director Thomas Insel

The National Institute of Mental Health is one of the largest funders of Neuroscience research in the world. This is an interesting article on how NIMH director Thomas Insel has single handedly turned the ship towards funding more mechanistic/biological neuroscience, which as a basic neuroscientist…I approve!

http://nyti.ms/MU2XA8

February 13, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News, Neuroscience

Reddit AMA

Today the Shepherd lab participated in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) session:

http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1x6aum/science_ama_series_im_jason_shepherd_from_the_u/

It was a great experience with over 1000 comments/questions asked…awesome to get so much interest but humbling to see so many people affected by mental illness and other neurological disorders. 

February 6, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News, Neuroscience

Using social media for Science education – Shepherd lab hosting REDDIT AMA

The internet and social media has revolutionized how information is disseminated in society. Scientists have started to use social media to help talk about their work and make it more accessible to the general public. REDDIT is one of the most popular sites, especially those under 30. The Shepherd lab will be involved in a new initiative on REDDIT that aims to help the public interface with scientists. See http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/1vqimu/announcing_the_rscience_ama_series/

We will be hosting an AMA next Thursday Feb 6th 12 noon EST.

January 29, 2014 / / - / Education, In The News, Neuroscience

Arc mutations implicated in Schizophrenia

Two Nature papers that came online today implicate rare mutations in Arc in human patients with Schizophrenia. This has exciting implications for our work in understanding Arc’s role in neuronal function, as our work may now help shed light on this common psychiatric disorder!

Links to the papers, if anyone is interested but doesn’t have access let us know:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12929.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20140123

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12975.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20140123

January 22, 2014 / / - / In The News, Neuroscience

Intersection between the environment and our genes

Great story about a neuroscientist’s personal encounter with his own genetic history and how that explains much of his behaviour but also highlights how genes aren’t everything. This interplay between environment and genes is precisely the plasticity my lab is trying to uncover! http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/life-as-a-nonviolent-psychopath/282271/

January 21, 2014 / / - / In The News, Neuroscience

Good news for Coffee drinkers!

New study (http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nn.3623.html) shows that Caffeine can boost the consolidation of memory. So drinking that coffee before/during your lecture is a good idea!

January 13, 2014 / / - / In The News, Neuroscience

Elissa Pastuzyn Awarded DBTG Postdoctoral Fellowship

Congrats to Elissa for being awarded a NIH T32 Developmental Biology Training Grant postdoctoral fellowship!

January 5, 2014 / / - / Award, In The News, Neuroscience